Anne V. Coates

Anne Voase Coates[1] OBE (12 December 1925 – 8 May 2018) was a British film editor with a more than 60-year-long career. She was perhaps best known as the editor of David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, for which she won an Oscar. Coates was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing for the films Lawrence of Arabia, Becket (1963), The Elephant Man (1980), In the Line of Fire (1993) and Out of Sight (1998). In an industry where women accounted for only 16 percent of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004, and 80 percent of the films had absolutely no women on their editing teams at all, Coates thrived as a top film editor.[2] She was awarded BAFTA's highest honour, a BAFTA Fellowship, in February 2007[3] and was given an Academy Honorary Award, which are popularly known as a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, in November 2016 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[4][5]

Anne V. Coates

Anne Voase Coates

(1925-12-12)12 December 1925
Died8 May 2018(2018-05-08) (aged 92)
Other namesAnne Coates
Anne Coates-Hickox
OccupationFilm editor
Years active1947–2015
Douglas Hickox
(m. 1958, divorced)
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Film Editing
1963 Lawrence of Arabia
American Cinema Editors
1995 Career Achievement Award
Academy Honorary Award

Early life and education

Coates was born in Reigate, Surrey, England, the daughter of Kathleen Voase (née Rank) and Major Laurence Calvert Coates.[6] Her first passion was horses. As a girl, she thought she might become a race-horse trainer.[7]

Coates attended the Reigate village school called the Micklefield School. She then attended High Trees School in Horley (Surrey). She graduated from Bartrum Gables in Broadstairs (Kent).[8]

Before becoming a film editor, she worked as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe's pioneering plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, England.[9]


Coates became interested in cinema after seeing Wuthering Heights (1939) directed by William Wyler.[10] She decided to pursue film directing and started working as an assistant at a production company specializing in religious films (also doing projectionist and sound recording work). There she fixed film prints of religious short films before sending them to various British church tours. This splicing work eventually led to the rare job as an assistant film editor at Pinewood Studios, where she worked on various films. Her first experience was assisting for film editor Reggie Mills.[7]

Coates later worked with film director David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia. She had a long and varied career, and continued to edit films, including Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich (both for Steven Soderbergh). Coates was a member of both the Guild of British Film and Television Editors (GBFTE) and American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Variety's Eileen Kowalski noted "many of the editorial greats have been women: Margaret Booth, Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates and Dorothy Spencer."[11]

Personal life

Coates was at the centre of a film industry family. Besides being the niece of J. Arthur Rank, she was married to the director Douglas Hickox for many years.[12] Her brother, John Coates, was a producer (The Snowman and Yellow Submarine). Her sons, Anthony Hickox (b. 1959) and James Hickox (b. 1965) were film directors. Her daughter Emma E. Hickox (b. 1964) is a film editor.[12]


Coates died on 8 May 2018, aged 92, at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.[13][10]


  • "In a way, I've never looked at myself as a woman in the business. I've just looked at myself as an editor. I mean, I'm sure I've been turned down because I'm a woman, but then other times I've been used because they wanted a woman editor."[7]
  • "...I guess I've been lucky that most of the time I've been in the same direction as the director. I try to work with directors whose work I like and find interesting. When I was younger, I had to find work where I could, and I had some not great experiences with directors."[7]
  • "You have the courage of your convictions. When you're editing you have to make thousands of decisions every day and if you dither over them all the time, you'll never get anything done."[14]
  • "I seem to get the rhythm from the performances. I like to feel I'm very much an actor's editor. I look very much to the performances and cut very much for performances rather than the action. I think that's important, what's in the eyes of the actor."[14]

Selected filmography

Academy Awards

BAFTA awards

Other honors


  1. "BFI biodata". Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  2. British Independent Film Awards – (BIFA) Archived 8 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "BAFTA crowns 'Queen' best film" 11 February 2007 – Variety (subscription)
  4. "Honorary Oscar for British trailblazer editor Anne V Coates". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  5. "Jackie Chan, Anne V. Coates, Lynn Stalmaster and Frederick Wiseman to Receive Academy's 2016 Governors Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  6. "Anne V. Coates Biography (1925-)". Film Reference.
  7. Murch, Walter (2000). "Walter Murch interviews Anne V. Coates", webpage originally posted at the website; webpage archived at WebCite on 2008-07-07 from this original URL.
  8. Sleeman, Elizabeth, ed. (2002). The International Who's Who of Women 2002 (3rd ed.). London: Europa Publications. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-857-43122-3. OCLC 925772556.
  9. Erickson, Hal (undated). "Anne V. Coates", webpage from Allrovi Guide; online version retrieved 7 July 2008.
  10. Barnes, Mike. "Anne V. Coates, Oscar-Winning Film Editor on 'Lawrence of Arabia,' Dies at 92". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  11. Eileen Kowalski Profile, Variety, 14 November 2001. (subscription required)
  12. Whitaker, Sheila (9 May 2018). "Anne V Coates obituary". The Guardian.
  13. Dagan, Carmel (19 May 2018). "Anne V. Coates, Oscar-Winning Film Editor for 'Lawrence of Arabia,' Dies at 92". Variety.
  14. Coates, Anne V. (2007). "Things I've Learned As A Moviemaker" Archived 14 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, article posted on 3 February 2007 at MovieMaker website retrieved 7 July 2008.
  15. "Anne V. Coates ACE". United Agents. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  16. "Filmography for Anne V. Coates". Turner Classic Movies.
  17. Kilday, Gregg (1 September 2016). "Jackie Chan, Film Editor Anne V. Coates to Get Honorary Oscars". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. "BAFTA Awards Search". Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  19. "1998 Awards (Second Annual)". Online Film Critics Society. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  20. "The 75 Best Edited Films". Editors Guild Magazine. 1 (3). May 2012. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015.
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